1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly except for treacherous outside steps up to deck 4, even for the fit and able, with little evidence of staff to assist those with a mobility problem. The cabin was very clean and one of the best suites,as far as lay out is concerned, that we have had on any other cruise ship we have been on. Unfortunately , because the ship is old there were a lot of banging and creaking noises within the cabin in rough seas we had 4 nights of little sleep.All other areas on the ship were clean and well looked after and it was easy to find your way around. The ships daily programmes were adequate but the resident show performers were very good indeed. The swimming pool on the other hand was "out of action" for the duration of the cruise. Having had one lunch in the cafeteria where the "hot" food was just warm and the queues long, we ate in the restaurant for lunch and dinner for the remainder of the cruise. The food was varied and plentiful. We had breakfast in our cabin which was good. All cabin, restaurant and bar staff were very good and only too ready to please. We bought a drinks package which was good value for money but it would have been nice to have more than one choice of house wine. Coffee and water was excluded from the package. Just prior to sailing the advertised itinerary times in Orkney (8am-5pm) had been changed to 8am -2pm and Honfleur had been changed from 8am -8pm to 1pm -10pm without any apologies or explanation. The first port of call was Mull where I had arranged for Alan Robson www.mulltaxi.co.uk to provide a private tour tailored to suit our needs.This was to include a visit to the distillery.The weather was overcast and the sea slightly choppy so we were anchored way off Tobermory to be told that the captain was waiting for the weather to improve and an announcement would be made in an hour to let us know what was happening before making a decision. This did not happen and I was kept up to date by our taxi firm who told me that the harbour master had been told that the ship had decided not to tender passengers off to the harbour! Alan also cancelled our distillery tour for us.Two hours later an announcement was made informing us all that not only Mull was being cancelled but also Stornoway. We were sailing straight to Orkney and would arriving there a day earlier than planned. As I had arranged for www.hebrideanexcursions.co.uk to provide another tailored tour of Harris and Lewis for us and Orkney Taxis to meet us (now a day earlier) at the pier in Orkney I was now left to sort this out without a mobile 'phone signal. Clare the receptionist suggested that it must be my network provider at fault and that I should go as high as I could on deck to try and get a signal.It was now raining and blustery on deck. I know from past holidays in the Western Isles that mobile 'phone reception is very poor. I eventually asked if I could use the land line and was given the codes on how to get an outside line and was told that the first minute was free and after that it was £4 a minute.The land line did not work and after a long discussion and a flat refusal from Clare to do anything personaly to help, the ships communication officer, who had been asked to sort out our 'phone, contacted TG the guest relations officer who eventually agreed to send an email to Orkney taxis for me. As a seasoned cruiser I had never come across such an unhelpful attitude from those who were supposed to be there to help the guests, especially when none of the changes were of our own doing. My previous experiences with other cruise lines have always been very positive with staff who have a "can do" approach to their guests. Donald and Gail of Orkney Taxis met us at the pier and we had a wonderful day being shown around the Island by a local guide with so much knowledge of the Island. Nothing was too much trouble and we were able to stop whenever we wanted to.The time ashore was now 8am to 10pm. I managed to eventually get a signal and let John ,Hebridean Excursions know what was NOT happening. See Tripadvisor reviews of this company. A half day( 8am -2pm) in Invergordon was substituted at late notice for the loss of the other two ports of call. This is a repair port for the oil rigs and has little to offer. Two, expensive,organised tours were offered and no information was available for independent travellers as to how they could get around the area. We arrived in Honfleur at 12pm, (46 hours later) and had to wait until 2pm before we could get off the boat to get a shuttle bus into the town.We were "allowed" to get off earlier but would have to walk for at least 20 minutes before we were near to the town. I had a local taxi firm number obtained in the UK but the codes were confusing, again Clare refused to even try and find out for me what the codes were and suggested I walk to the harbour ofice to get a taxi. Again Independent passengers were kept waiting until the organised tours were all off the ship. There was also a problem at St. Mary's in as much that the ship was anchored a good 30 minute tender journey each way thus delaying and prolonging the time getting us off board, again priority was given to the organised tours. As the sea was choppy when we arrived I was waiting for an announcement that we would not be going ashore . However the boatmen of the Scilly Isles tender passengers on and off all the ships and know all the tides etc. They could not understand why we were so far off shore. DJ Cabs St. Mary's met us at the pier and we had an excellent tour of the island, stopping off whenever we wanted and had first hand knowledge of the Islands history, flora and fauna. The excursions are expensive and I would recommend the above mentioned private taxi firms to anyone, all were good value for money and even those that we did not meet up with have been in contact with me hoping that everything had gone alright for us and that we had enjoyed our cruise. Disembarkation went smoothly but again the steps were appalling with no help from the crew.The port staff were very helpful. This cruise was not cheap and unless the attitudes of some key customer services / guest relations personel change we will not use this cruise line again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Recently returned from our first sea cruise on Cruise and Maritime ship Azores to the Fjords. The journey to the docks in Bristol was easy with clear sign posting. Parking an embarcation was fast and efficient. Our luggage was waiting at ... Read More
Recently returned from our first sea cruise on Cruise and Maritime ship Azores to the Fjords. The journey to the docks in Bristol was easy with clear sign posting. Parking an embarcation was fast and efficient. Our luggage was waiting at our junior suite,with which we were very impressed. So glad we upgraded from standard cabin. We had tea/coffee making facilities, TV, Jacuzzi bath, very comfortable bed and sofa. Cabin service from Victoria was excellent, really looked after us. The restaurant was lovely, food excellent, waiters very professional and so friendly. Lots of choices of food at all meals. The entertainment team were very good. Band very professional, Jordan, vocalist and game show host etc was brilliant, very talented. My husband was particularly keen on the watercolour painting classes. Enjoyed Glam excursion. We did Eidfford and Bergen on our own, so easy as docks right in centre. Lovely places. Disembarcation was very quick and our luggage waiting in the terminal. We were away so quickly, what a. difference to flying! We had a brilliant time and would certainly recommend Cruise and Maritime and the "Azores" Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We and our friends thought we would try a cruise so first time apprehension we sailed from Avonmouth Bristol to Norway on a Fjords tour first getting on board was very easy and no fuss our cabin was spotless with ample room for clothes ... Read More
We and our friends thought we would try a cruise so first time apprehension we sailed from Avonmouth Bristol to Norway on a Fjords tour first getting on board was very easy and no fuss our cabin was spotless with ample room for clothes we had a wonderful steward who looked after us so well in fact the only thing he didn't do was tuck us bed at night. the food was very very good and again we had a fantastic waiter Ravi who was very friendly and knowledgeable . in fact all the staff were brilliant The ship was small I think by todays standards us just right for us there was a mixed bag of things to do and it didn't feel overcrowded the trips were very good although everyone we talked to said better to land and visit or book trips separately when there as much cheaper (something to Remember when we do another one). the fjords were just stunning and we only had a very small amount of rain Our overall feeling was it was a brilliant time with excellent staff and food we felt that we were special and trips embarking ect was very easy the only thing was we felt we were at sea to long it took 3 days to get there So would we go on a cruise again yes did it exceed expectations yes would we possibly use the Azores again yes Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We have just come back from a cruise on the Azores from Avonmouth to Gibraltar (April 15). We have been a few cruises with various companies and can only say that we found everything to be exceptional. The food, cleanliness, ... Read More
We have just come back from a cruise on the Azores from Avonmouth to Gibraltar (April 15). We have been a few cruises with various companies and can only say that we found everything to be exceptional. The food, cleanliness, entertainment, excursions were all excellent. The staff were very friendly, efficient and polite. It is a smaller ship which we found to be more personal. We would certainly recommend the Azores. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to ... Read More
My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to the Fjords and thoroughly enjoyed the service and ambience on a small and friendly, age-related ship. The Azores is a recent addition to their fleet this year and being even smaller, we felt would be to our taste. It was disappointing to receive a telephone call 2 days before departure advising of a 24 hour delay due to the ship's late arrival from Lisbon on the previous itinerary and also the cancellation of the port visit to Stornoway in order to catch up with their schedule. However, a generous compensation package was offered, 20% of cost of cruise onboard credit plus a 25% discount on future cruise booked on one of their ships. Directions to BRISTOL Avonmouth were excellent and after dropping partner and luggage and parking on dockside, embarkation was on time and efficient. Although the cruise terminal at Bristol Avonmouth does lack the style and comfort levels of Southampton or Dover, we were soon onboard and escorted immediately to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting. There was time to visit the Buffet before the obligatory Liefeboat Drill which was conducted very professionally. Our cabin was clean and spacious with a rather small TV which had some UK channels plus the route map and bridgecam and two in-house film channels which changed daily and shown on a loop. Cabin service was excellent and unobtrusive. I cannot commend the Entertainment team enough - Daniel was the Cruise Director and also one of the two male vocalists and he worked so hard. He was even in charge of cruise terminal embarkation. The band and dance troupe were very slick and professional providing excellent variety and the onboard comedian Lee Carroll did two excellent evening shows. Newly appointed Deputy Cruise Director Cerys, with a lovely voice was on her first contract, as was Jordan (second male vocalist) who was the star of the cruise for us. His youthful appearance belied his talents and he was everywhere from Daily Quizzes, Scattergories, Bean Bag Bowls and Deck Quoits and the whole team responded excellently to adding entertainment activities once it was confirmed that the port of St Mary's, Scilly Isles had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The Dining Room was very pleasant, although the closeness of tables must have made the waiters job a nightmare! Food was plentiful and of an excellent standard - with a special mention for the afternoon tea scones! The shore excursions did seem expensive, as on most cruises, but with some forward planning and use of local tourist information points, satisfactory trips could be made. Apart from Honfleur in Normandy (which was a pure delight in warm sunshine) all other ports were by tender (ship's lifeboats). I would also like to commend the crew who assisted passengers in these quick tricky manouevres in often choppy seas. Although disappointed with the cancellation of St Mary's, we were rewarded with the best weather of the trip with warm sunny skies and calm seas all afternoon round Lands End and return through the Bristol Channel. Disembarkation was calm and efficient with plenty of seats for everyone waiting to be called and luggage already waiting in designated areas in the terminal building. A thoroughly enjoyable cruise where we met many like-minded lovely fellow passengers and we hope to sail again soon on the MV Azores. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
it started badly by itinery being altered meaning only one night in Iceland, no apparent reason for this. Avonmouth is not conjusive to cruising. it is a warehouse facility. Embarkation was a joke, total free for all rather than ... Read More
it started badly by itinery being altered meaning only one night in Iceland, no apparent reason for this. Avonmouth is not conjusive to cruising. it is a warehouse facility. Embarkation was a joke, total free for all rather than scheduled boarding. The ship is very tired and in much need of a facelift. Food at dinner was good but breakfast very poor quality. Only one four slice toaster, only two sections worked, so long queue. Usually only one tea/coffee station so again long queues. The cabin. We opted for a Premium Ocean View Grade 12. Sounds splendid but no- it was one of the smallest cabins on the ship, no space for a chair, no dressing table, one socket hidden behind a bed, dirty carpet. Only thing Premium was the price. On FIVE separate occasions engineers had to be sent to clear the toilet vacumn system, two electricians had to check our cabin as we received electric shocks from door handles and switches. One port we were taken ashore by tender. It was obvious as soon as we left the ship there was a steering problem but we continued following a zig zag course to shore. The windscreen wipers were useless and a crew member was dispatched to stand on the bow and point out the direction to go. After three unsuccessful attempts to dock we were finally secured to the side of another tender and towed to the dockside. Thank goodness this was not an emergency situation. Captain was conspicuous by his abscence and lack of communication. The general staff were mainly very pleasant and the entertainment was good. In all a ship to avoid Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Eclipse and Northern Lights cruise. Bad start as embarkation involved a long queue, despite being told that it would be phased to avoid queuing. The ship is 67 years old and had been 'refurbished' but was very basic. Originally ... Read More
Eclipse and Northern Lights cruise. Bad start as embarkation involved a long queue, despite being told that it would be phased to avoid queuing. The ship is 67 years old and had been 'refurbished' but was very basic. Originally booked in July 2014, the main attraction being the possible viewing of the Total Eclipse near the Faroe Islands, we were disappointed to be advised of changes to the itinerary a few weeks before setting sail. On the excursion briefing, it transpired that all port dockings were far away from those originally planned, whilst an overnight stay in Iceland was cut short, with an extra day 'at sea', whilst the Faroe Island port was changed from the Capital at Troshaven to a small ferry terminal miles from anywhere. We missed the Shetlands due to bad weather, a cruising hazard, but spent a welcome extra night in the Orkney's at Kirkwall. It would have been helpful if we had been told that the berth was a purpose built cruise terminal, as we had expected to berth in the harbour, not another 20 minute bus ride from behind the shipping containers (again!). On to Stornaway, where again we were expecting to berth in the harbour, but were 'at anchor' (not mentioned in the brochure or original itinerary!) and eventually transferred to the island by 67 year old 'Tenders'. The ship is not built for rough seas, as in these northern waters, with many people, including myself, suffering from acute seasickness. On the positive side, the Northern Lights were magnificent, appearing on two nights off Iceland. The entertainment was superb and the crew and restaurant/bar staff/ cabin stewards could not be faulted. The food was good, apart from the breakfast, which resembled a cold war regime with appalling bacon and inedible sausages, if you like a good breakfast as in an hotel, forget it. Avonmouth is not a good place to start a cruise, the terminal is a fruit and veg warehouse, departure is very reliant on the tide with a large lock from the commercial dock and the dirty water of the Bristol Channel. It was certainly an experience to be on a ship so full of character, but I would not recommend for a first cruise. May be better in warmer climes.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was a specific cruise with the intention of being in the ultimate place for the Eclipse. Sadly whilst the ship was in the correct place so were the clouds! Obviously totally out of the hands of the cruise line. Looking at the ... Read More
This was a specific cruise with the intention of being in the ultimate place for the Eclipse. Sadly whilst the ship was in the correct place so were the clouds! Obviously totally out of the hands of the cruise line. Looking at the previous reviews I can identify with lots that have been said: we had booked a 'deluxe junior suite' double. On arrival it was 2 singles and were told it couldn't be changed then as we disembarked we noticed that it had! The window leaked and despite numerous complaints nothing was done other than a final apology with a complimentary bottle of house wine! Electrics were loose and the tea making facilities were interesting - milk had to be brought from the restaurant and to put the kettle on you had to unplug the TV - only one socket on that wall the other 2 being behind the beds. We have cruised extensively but never been in a cabin that creaked as much and also the mattress slid off the bed in the (regular) inclement weather. I would agree with previous comments about the lack of presence of the management despite our room being opposite the hotel director, few were seen. We have never seen as little of a captain as we did this one. Waiting and serving staff were exceptional and the entertainments team were brilliant. Food was good and our table companions were pleasant albeit we are not keen on fixed time dining or being told who we sit with! Embarkation seemed chaotic as whilst we were promised priority there were no signs or information to action this. Disembarkation was almost as bad with delays for no apparent reason. This must have been the most consistent problem on board - the lack of communication - nobody (management again) announced what was happening with the exception of the Cruise Director who seemed to be a lonely voice. It was also interesting when the Captain did occasionally make an announcement it was then re-read by the Guest Services Manager word for word - why? To summarize we went on this cruise specifically because of its destination but were disappointed with the 'cruising' side of the trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Due to bad weather the departure port and date were changed three days prior to departure, no information about the new departure port "Portland" was provided and there was none on the website. I was assured that as I had to ... Read More
Due to bad weather the departure port and date were changed three days prior to departure, no information about the new departure port "Portland" was provided and there was none on the website. I was assured that as I had to arrive at Portland at 14:00 (due to travel availability) there would be facilities to leave luggage on arrival, there was no sign of a representative from Cruise and Maritime until 17:50 when boarding started, there was no priority boarding and it was a total shambles. Although the cabin was excellent, the standard of cleanliness left a lot to be desired and our cabin steward appeared to prioritise fancy towel folding above basic necessities. On the evening of Day 5 the Aurora was visible but no announcement was made, as this was a "Northern Lights Cruise" I would have expected a watch to be kept from the bridge and sightings to be announced, many guests were disappointed when they found out the next day. The lights on the observation deck were only turned off on one occasion to improve viewing conditions. On the Tromso shore excursion we were directed to the wrong coach and consequently had very limited time at the Cathedral and at Alta on our return the guide dropped us off in town and told us the shuttle bus stopped at the same place, six of us waited over an hour in the cold to eventually find out that the bus stopped at the bus station the other side of the shopping complex. Our cabin should have had a DVD player in it but there was none provided until we insisted. The sirloin steak I was served in The Steak House Restaurant was one of the worst I have ever been presented with when eating out. On day 11 we were without water in the cabin from 15:30 for about two hours and when the supply was restored the water was dark brown until the next day. All of these problems when reported seemed to be met with a total lack of "Customer Care", the service provided was well below that which should be expected but nobody seemed to want to accept any responsibility. No problem with the entertainment team, they were excellent. Not worth the £6,859 price tag and no refund from the company after taking their 28 days allowed by ABTA to respond! They were obviously very busy as they took 27 minutes to answer my phone call on one occasion, I would certainly not recommend the company to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
The worst cruise I have been on.We actuallyonly got to 4 of the 9 destinations which were advertised. The boat was unstable at anything more than a force 3 wind. It wallowed and went crabwise. Internally it leaked in at least 6 places. ... Read More
The worst cruise I have been on.We actuallyonly got to 4 of the 9 destinations which were advertised. The boat was unstable at anything more than a force 3 wind. It wallowed and went crabwise. Internally it leaked in at least 6 places. Bits were falling off. If you put an electrical plug in the surface mounting came away when you took it out exposing wiring.The toilets often did not flush.Temperature controls did not work.Often the lifts never worked. A minor point that made me laugh - all cruise ,the toaster for breakfast for 200 people could only take 4 slices of bread and only 2 heaters worked. Any complaints made the crew rude to you [ except the waiters who were friendly].The head office staff were even worse Many people did not leave their cabins for days on end through seasickness. At one point the doctor had 6 people on saline drips due to seasickness.At least one broken arm. The cruise started a day late with a 4 hour coach trip to Portland from Avonmouth [ where the cruise was supposed to start ] Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
Where do I start! About 4 days before setting sail we received a phone call to say that the cruise had been delayed by 24 hours and that we were sailing from Portland instead of Bristol. This was due to the ship being delayed by bad ... Read More
Where do I start! About 4 days before setting sail we received a phone call to say that the cruise had been delayed by 24 hours and that we were sailing from Portland instead of Bristol. This was due to the ship being delayed by bad weather in Portugal. This was acceptable, I would hate to think of any passengers being subjected to adverse weather conditions. ( See later comments ). Anyway, we were told we would be transported to Portland by coach and that food would be provided. Having arrived at Bristol we all duly boarded our coaches and helped ourselves to our goodie bags, not! A mini bag of Cheddars, an apple and a Penguin bar washed down with a bottle of water was not quite what I expected. After about two hours we arrived at Portland and had a long delay before boarding. This was undoubtedly due to the previous passengers still getting off the ship, if I had thought, I could have waved and asked them about their cruise! Once onboard, we settled into our cabin and to be honest we were not disappointed. We had an upgrade to a Junior Suite and were welcomed by a bottle of champagne and a plate of canopies. The weather worsened as we crossed the North Sea and many passengers succumbed to sea sickness. The swells were 5 Meters and it seemed the 67 year old ship struggled with the conditions. Norway was wonderful even if we missed 2 original stops, these were replaced by 2 alternative places, albeit one of them being in Scotland on the way home. We never saw Scotland let alone visited. The last stop in Norway was the North Cape and when we left in horrendous weather was when the fun, or not, really started. The weather, and I know Cruise and Maritime can not be held responsible, was horrendous. As a result of this we made an an unexpected porting at Kristiansand and not Bergen as per the itinerary. I swear not, everyone cheered, including me, and I had booked on a helicopter trip in Bergen! We spent the night in port and it was a big relief. We left port at 1600hrs the next day. Nearly everyone I spoke to had seen the weather forecast on BBC news world service and knew what to expect. We spent 3 days in horrendous conditions, force 10 and 11 storms, the ship reeled up and down, side to side in 9 Meter swells and waves. Passengers, mainly older people were thrown around like rag dolls, furniture fittings fell from the walls. An 80 year old woman was thrown out of bed with the bed and mattress landing on top of her. One male passenger spent a night sleeping in his bath as he couldn't sleep safely in his bed. I could go on. During this time crockery and glasses smashed to the floor, tables, chairs and passengers would slide past you as you as you ate in the Buffet, funny sometimes, petrifying at others! Passengers were terrified and were seen to be reduced to tears. Not once was an announcement made to reassure passengers, a total disgrace. Some passengers did not leave their cabins for days, so very sad. I am no expert but I have to question why we ever set sail knowing the conditions ahead but it is so obvious, we arrived in Bristol early hours of Saturday 14th March, and they were setting sail again at 1600 hours. The food was mediocre, not that you felt like eating much. The cabin was fine albeit our jacuzzi bath did not work, not that you could have enjoyed a luxory bath without flooding the cabin due to the conditions. Our windows leaked to such an extent that we had to use bath towels to stop the water going on one of the beds, not really what you expect. On the last night we had a letter left in the cabin to say that we could have 40% off our next cruise if booked by a certain date. Would I book with Cruise and Maritime again? It is very unlikely. This was supposed to be the post retirement dream holiday, it was anything but. I would finally like to add that the bar staff, waiters, cabin cleaners were wonderful and were all a credit to themselves. Management level were scarcely seen, I wonder why? In my humble opinion, the ships owned by this company are past their best. Azores is a wonderful old lady but I do wonder whether she is suitable for winter cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Apart from the different embarkation and disembarkation ports being altered which did cause some inconvenience to quite a few people, I think on the whole It was managed as well as it could be under the difficult circumstances. Reading ... Read More
Apart from the different embarkation and disembarkation ports being altered which did cause some inconvenience to quite a few people, I think on the whole It was managed as well as it could be under the difficult circumstances. Reading some of the comments I wondered which Ship they had been on! We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. Any problems we had were dealt with efficiently and promptly. Considering the size of the Ship, the facilities were very good. The entertainment was excellent. Jordan, Kerris and Margaret were very talented not only doing the shows but also running the quizes etc. Richard will be missed on the Azores as he is now on the Magellan, what a talented man. The food was good, certainly plenty of choice. The waiters were brilliant especially the one's looking after our table. Our cabin steward looked after us very well. The officers were very approachable and easy to talk to. It was our first cruise so had nothing to compare it to, but I think considering the age of the ship you can't compare her with anything, she is unique I loved her. Our cabin was comfortable, could have done with a larger wardrobe, but having said that perhaps I took too many clothes!! I agree with one of the passengers comments that there were too many moaners on the ship, we did our best to ignore them and enjoy our holiday visiting some lovely places. They were even moaning about the number of days at sea, didn't they read the itinerary! Some people need to get a life and consider themselves lucky to be able to afford to have a lovely holiday. We met some lovely people that outweighed the miserable ones. I enjoyed the days at sea joining in with the various activities. Would I do it again, yes when I have saved a few pennies! Thank you the Captain and all the crew on board the Azores.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Despite a delay with the embarkation, my husband and I really enjoyed our cruise on a lovely vintage ship. The staff were very welcoming and helpful in every way. The on board entertainment was very good, with something for everyone, from ... Read More
Despite a delay with the embarkation, my husband and I really enjoyed our cruise on a lovely vintage ship. The staff were very welcoming and helpful in every way. The on board entertainment was very good, with something for everyone, from cards, art lectures, choir, dance classes and more. The food was really good, everyone on our table enjoyed it. The only downside was that some of the passengers were real miseries, who did nothing but complain about everything, What a shame that they could not relax and go with the flow , luckily, we managed to avoid them and got on with the fun. We met many people who felt like us. The passengers are not the fault of the cruise line, so I will not complain!! Anyway, a great trip for us. And great to have an extra day in Lisbon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to ... Read More
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to get back to Avonmouth for the Monday morning embarkation. Instead it was sailing from Plymouth and coaches would be available to transfer customers from Avonmouth to Plymouth. I decided that this was not for me so I paid for a taxi to transfer me from the hotel I was staying at in Clevedon, to Plymouth at a cost of £160.00.This turned out to be a good move as the coaching operation was fraught with errors and problems resulting in some passengers not getting their luggage until 11pm.The ship had if fact been in Plymouth since the early hours of Sunday morning , so why it could not make Avonmouth for Monday morning was a mystery. On boarding the vessel it was apparent that not much money had been spent on the restoration with the only visible refurbishment being crockery in the Acores motif and a coat of paint on the outside in its new livery, of which much was missing by the time we arrived in the Caribbean. The air conditioning did not work resulting in unacceptably hot cabins. We asked for an engineer to check our cabin and he came and removed the air filter from the system and turned it up full manually and that is how it was left. In the public rooms, the dining room was far too hot ranging to cold in the auditorium where you need a blanket. Many cabin safes were either not lockable or once set up and locked you could not open them again. When questioned we were told that the safe engineer was not on board and they were trying to contact him in Spain for the security codes. The Wi Fi did not work on the outward journey and was switched off on the Wednesday we were supposed to be home. The next fiasco was our first tender port where five lifeboats broke down, resulting in myself and my wife having fifteen minutes ashore before we had to get the last lifeboat back to the ship so we could keep up with the schedule. This was the ship that had just rock and rolled (and I mean Rocked and rolled) across the Atlantic ocean with over 400 passengers aboard and only three serviceable lifeboats out of eight! The captain came over the tannoy to apologise for the situation and the following day we had another tender port and lifeboat No 5 again broke down for one and a half hours, resulting in us having just one hour ashore before having to return to the ship. Two Islands missed, the only two we had been to before! The whole ship seemed to be poorly maintained with officers speaking to staff appallingly in front of passengers resulting in poor staff moral. We sailed on regardless, making the most of the situation and then we received a letter on the 20th of February 2015 the contents of which is below. I would point out that at that time we had not had any bad weather and we were on course and did arrive on schedule at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on the 21st of February 2015. The letter read; To Whom it may concern. Please be advised that passengers in possession of this letter were aboard cruise ship Azores operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Due to severe sea conditions experienced over the last few days the ship docked later than originally planned at Bristol Avonmouth Cruise terminal on Wednesday 25th of February at 11.30 hrs, thus causing a delay to our passengers onward travel arrangements. As passengers on the vessel had very restricted communication access they were unable to make changes to their travel arrangements in person, as insisted upon by most travel insurance providers. We would therefore kindly request you amend their booking, free of charge, to enable them to travel to their destination on an alternative train or coach. Thanks you for your assistance with regard to this matter. Signed T.J Jerrard Shortly after leaving the Azores the Captain announced further changes to or arrival date as he was taking us to Lisbon to avoid a storm. This resulted in another letter detailing our arrival would now be 2.30pm on Saturday 28th February 2015 in Avonmouth. We finally arrived in Portland Dorset on Friday 27th at noon, with more coaches arranged to get people back to Avonmouth. Once more I got a taxi at £160.00 to take me to Clevedon where our car was parked . However to their credit the show team were excellent with lively shows each evening , and particular credit to Jordan who was a last minute addition to the cruise and at just 21 was breath of fresh air around the ship. Lectures were disappointing with two of them repeating lectures they had given on the way out, on the way back, and the ship relying on passengers for four lectures on the cruise. Food was at best average with much pre-prepared produce used and no fresh food and fruit appearing to be taken on in the Caribbean. Wines in particular were very expensive at an average of £23.00 per bottle for very mediocre wines. The overall feeling I have for Cruise and Maritime is that they have no consideration for customers and use their reception staff as a barrier to avoid you speaking to senior officers who could and should have given clearer and more accurate information as to the delays and the changes of port. We will not be sailing with Cruise and Maritime again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
I have cruised many times with many operators, but never with an operator who does.not understand cruising! Whilst I enjoyed the cruise as such, I do not blame the officers and crew for the awfullness of the ship Azores. We were informed ... Read More
I have cruised many times with many operators, but never with an operator who does.not understand cruising! Whilst I enjoyed the cruise as such, I do not blame the officers and crew for the awfullness of the ship Azores. We were informed that this was the inaugural trip of the Azores to the West Indies, but unfortunately the powers that be misinformed the passengers that this ship was 67 years old a fact that we celebrated on board. There was so much wrong with the ship that it should have been in a maritime museum NOT on an Atlantic crossing at this time of year ie January-February when the Atlantic can be at its strongest wind and wave strategy. This ship was just NOT up to this crossing. Whilst the captain and crew tried to eliminate panic be saying "our paramount importance is for your safety" this was continually said over the loud speaker system. Lets be honest here - the ship just wasn't up to this type of voyage at this time of year. Cruise & Maritime have a great deal to learn about cruising if they really want to become a serious operator of the seas. The waiters were new to their positions and didn't really know what to do, in fact I had to tell one waiter that a puddle of water on the floor could cause an accident and perhaps he should mop it up. This should have been done by the Maitre-de. The food was very mediocre, in fact I didn 't see one ripe tomato in the salad area at lunch time, and the dining area at times there was not a single item on some days that I could enjoy. Other times there was a good choice, but this was few and far between. The cabins, were just about adequate, being on deck 4 outside. The wardrobe was a single size for two people on a 30 day cruise, with no laundry room. There were many difficulties in the cabin ie, the safe had to be reset every other day, then there was trouble in the bathroom, with the door not closing hence banging all night long, and the hairdryer broke just after the first use, then the tap fell off the basin with hot water running. Had to wait over 24 hours for this to be repaired, when I demanded to see the Captain, "low and behold" I had help within 10mins. It was obvious that the ship was just not ready for this voyage, in fact engineers were still on board from Lisbon and disembarked when we returned to Lisbon before the transatlantic crossing. When we eventually arrived in the West Indies, we found that some of the tenders were not working properly - hey ho, we now have to think about the return crossing. Some of the trips ashore had to be cancelled because of this, and infact I wasn't able to go ashore at all.When I asked to buy some dollars, I was told to come back tomorrow to the reception desk.I returned only to be told they wouldn't arrive til 5pm, I returned again at 6pm, but NO dollars, in fact the ship didn't have any dollars or euros on board to sell to their passengers, even though they were sailing to the ports which dealt with $s and Euros. Because we had to return to Lisbon for shelter from the storm before returning to UK,many passengers didn 't have enough medication ie, they were only allowed to bring 30days medication with them, hence they had no option but to buy from the Doctor on board, who charged £60. The passenger was told by the doctor that she couldn't purchase her tablets from a Farmacie in Lisbon, but only on board. Whilst I prefer to cruise with the smaller ships, this was an appaling experience as far as cruising goes. Cruise & Maritime, you have a long way to go before you can even consider yourselves as maritime people. I hope you can learn from experienced cruisers!!!!!! Never again will I cruise with Cruise & Maritime, you need to "Up" your standards.   Read Less
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